When Paula Ceely, 20-year-old student from Redditch, Worcestershire, set out to visit her boyfriend Tom Finucane at his parents’ home in the remote Welsh village of Hebron in Carmarthenshire, it was the first time she had driven the 200 or so miles on her own. So to be on the safe side, Finucane lent her his portable SatNav. Most of the journey was straightforward enough; over the Severn Bridge, along the M4 and the A40. But on reaching St Clears in Camarthenshire, the machine saw the opportunity to save Ceely a few minutes by taking her off the main road and on to a shortcut through a maze of unclassified country lanes.
By this time, night had fallen and it had begun to rain. Within a few minutes of leaving the A40, Ceely found herself in a narrow lane with a gate blocking her way. Stopping her car, she opened the gate and drove through it, but found another gate ahead of her. Stopping again, she went back to close the first gate – only to hear a train sounding its horn as it raced towards her. She was on a level crossing!! Her car. It turned out, was straddling the South Wales main line. But not for much longer!! Within seconds, as the horror-stricken Ceely stood helplessly by, the 19.05 from Pembroke Dock to Swansea had smashed into the vehicle, hurling it aside and carrying its bonnet half a mile down the track!!
Miraculously, neither Ceely nor anyone on the train was hurt, but the car was a write-off, the line had to be closed while the wreckage was cleared and Ceely was charged with unlawfully obstructing the railway!! And so, the incident became yet another in the catalogue of misadventures blamed on SatNav – along with the woman who had to be rescued by the fire service after her car plunged into a stream near Woodbury Salterton in Devon; the 44-tonne lorry from Lithuania that became wedged in a lane in Charlcombe, near Bath, for four days; and the motorists who were sent along a barely passable track on the edge of a 100ft cliff near the village of Crackpot in North Yorkshire.
But now a multi-million pound SatNav project aims to stop lorries and other vehicles getting stuck in narrow lanes and under low-lying bridges on UK routes.Ordnance Survey is creating a database that will contain information about 200,000 miles of roadways to prevent such accidents. The Transport Secretary Andrew Jones said the digital facility would launch before the end of the year. But SatNav makers will need to pay to get access to the full data. "The new database will provide the SatNav manufacturers with the ability to make journeys for HGV [heavy goods vehicle] drivers safer and more cost-efficient and that's a big issue for us," explained Richard Burnett, the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association. "However, the new technology can only be considered a real success if each of the SatNav providers sign up to the new system."
It includes information on bridge heights, weight restrictions, road widths and bans on left or right turns at junctions, and will also be able to warn drivers about speed restrictions, roadworks and cycle lanes. The £3 million project, which has been in development for two and a half years, comes after figures published by the Department for Transport last year showed that the majority of drivers use SatNavs instead of paper maps. There are also plans to introduce SatNavs as part of the Driving Test, with a revised practical test trialled in the UK last year. "We welcome this move [and] hopefully this will lay the foundations for potential future advancements in vehicle technology," commented Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.
Maybe there will be some new technology that aids us all to play Duplicate Bridge someday??!! Certainly there were plenty of keen Players wanting to participate in the Second Round of the Tilling Trophy last night. There were a near capacity 16 + 1/2 Tables to compete in our premier Pairs Competition which is held on the third Thursday of seven months between September and March to decide who will be the Top Pair of the Year!! You can read all about it in the Report by clicking on the "Competitions" tab in the Menu to the left of this box, and then clicking again on the "Competitions News" tab. Alternatively you can study the full Leaderboard and the individual Travellers by clicking on the "Latest Result" button at the top right of this page.
Latest News: Following the discovery that one Pair had incorrectly recorded the result of one Board, the scoring for last night had to be recomputed. When a Board is "passed out", Members should note that there is a specific button on the Automatic Scoring Terminal labelled "Pass" coloured Green, and that entering a Zero will have no effect!!
We reached the end of the Club Year last week and the Winner of the Club Championship became evident. The Master Points Competition runs from October to September, throughout the Club Year and provides the Individual Club Champion for the Year. Only the best score in terms of Master Points that each Member achieves with each different Partner counts and the Winner has the highest personal total of Master points.Many congratulations must go to Gail Norman who became the individual Club Champion for 2016 with an excellent 230 points. Well done indeed!!